Hyperemesis gravidarum is a extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that can lead to electrolyte disturbances, dehydration, weight loss. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases require a hospital stay so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through intravenous line.
The symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum usually appear between 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy and may peak between 9 to 13 weeks. The cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is believed to be a rapidly rising blood level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) which is released by placenta.
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum
Severe nausea and vomiting
Weight loss of 5 % or more of pre-pregnancy weight
Low blood pressure
Rapid heart beat
Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum
Small frequent meals: Nibble throughout the day rather than eating larger meals. An empty stomach may make nausea worse. Eat dry foods such as, crackers or a piece of dry toast. Select foods high in carbohydrates or protein, low in fat and easy to digest.
Drink plenty of fluids: Increase fluids during times of the day when you feel less nauseated.
Bed rest: Bed rest provide comfort. However, be cautious and aware of the effects of muscle and weight loss due to prolonged bed rest.
Intravenous fluids: It is important for a pregnant woman to maintain her fluid and electrolyte balance. In severe cases, woman might need hospitalization and intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids might be discontinued when a woman is able to take fluids by mouth.
Medicines: Medicines such as, promethazine, meclizine are used to prevent nausea when vomiting is persistent and poses possible risks to the mother or baby. Vitamin B6 ( no more than 100 mg daily) has shown to decrease nausea in early pregnancy.